Information Commissioner's Office
General Optical Council eBulletin 32
April 2017

Article from the Information Commissioner’s Office: General Data Protection Regulations

New data protection laws will change the way optometrists, dispensing opticians and optical businesses deal with customers’ personal information.

Anyone handling people’s personal information will be required to make privacy rights of customers and patients a top priority when new laws come into force to replace the current UK Data Protection Act (DPA) in May 2018.

The General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) will give people stronger rights to be informed about how their personal information is used and have more rights in respect of the way it is processed or used.

The GDPR will also introduce a duty on all organisations to report serious data breaches to the ICO, and in some cases to the individuals affected. It also gives the ICO the ability to issue much higher fines when enforcing the law.

One of the main changes for opticians will be the way a business deals with subject access requests (SARs).

Subject access is a person’s right to access information held about them, which in a registrant’s case could be patient records.

The new law gives businesses less time to respond to these requests and in most cases businesses won’t be able to charge a fee.

Other rights consumers have include the right to have their personal information deleted and the right to data portability. All the changes you need to be aware of feature in the GDPR related guidance on our website.

The ICO also offers an online self-assessment data protection toolkit to enable all registrants and businesses to find out what they need to do to comply with the law.

 

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